Yesterday’s EDL demo in Leicester started me thinking about the English Defence League and what it has managed to achieve in just a little over a year. I’d like to offer some observations — and some constructive criticism — from an outsider’s perspective.
Strictly speaking, I am only partially an outsider where England is concerned. A little over forty years ago I was not an outsider at all: I received my secondary education at a grammar school in Yorkshire, and spent my formative years in the lower Dales. By the time I left England and returned home, I had as deep an understanding of the country as an outsider is likely to get.
So, although I understand England, it is an England of more than a generation ago, and I assume it has changed greatly in the interim. Recent visits to my old stomping grounds tell me that the small towns and rural areas of the West Riding are not all that different, but they are a long way (in culture, if not in miles) from Leeds, Bradford, Keighley, Birmingham, Luton, Tower Hamlets, and all the other inner city areas where immigration and Islamization have wrought their greatest changes.
Yet I am of the same generation as Pat Condell and Tony Blair, so I still experience a strong bond with the nook-shotten isle of Albion.
When I read the news accounts, watch the videos, and look at the photographs from the EDL demonstrations, I am aware of the class divisions that are evident in the clash between the EDL and the British establishment. My years in England gave me an intuitive understanding of the role class plays among the English. I developed an ear for the vowels and an eye for the dress and mannerisms that signaled a person’s class, and therefore the opportunities for and limitations on what he could achieve in life. An ambitious person of middle- or lower-class origin might apply himself for years in an attempt to erase those signifiers — and thereby incur the disdain of those he grew up with.
As an American in England, I was in a unique position: I was looked down upon and derided by all social classes. So I could learn about the culture as anthropologist would, without being fully part of it.
I went to school with middle-, lower middle-, and working-class kids. They never stopped making fun of me as a “bloody Yank”, but they got used to me, and some of them became my friends. From them I learned the ins and outs of the class system, at least as it manifested itself in the North of England.
As a result, when I look at the EDL demos, I can tell that the protesters are almost entirely working-class. When I hear them interviewed, the impression is confirmed. There is nothing at all wrong with this — these men and women from the despised proletariat are the heroes of the English resistance, and deserve our highest esteem — except for the fact that the movement will never succeed without a generous leavening of middle-class participants.
Mind you, the upper class does not have to be involved in order to guarantee success — the EDL can make it just fine without the toffs, thank you — but it desperately needs the middle class.
I spent yesterday thinking about all of this, and before I could put it together in an essay, some of our commenters on the three EDL posts weighed in on the same topic. I’ll lay out a selection of what they said before presenting my own conclusions.
First, a few comments from the “I am an Englishman” video clip, beginning with Homophobic Horse:
Is that supposed to be a parody? With the darkened lights, the grilled moonlit windows, the creepy icons of Enoch Powell, the actor with the mockney accent? What can I say, the whole thing is what it is: a liberal’s work of fiction.
A different take from imnokuffar:
I found this speech to be an accurate reflection of what I and many other English/British people think and feel.
Charles Martel came to a similar conclusion:
This was clearly a program meant to portray immigration restrictionists as the “lunatic fringe.” But, by golly, if they didn’t inadvertently provide us with a superb dramatic portrayal of what we all justifiably feel in our hearts.
The Sentinel disagrees with the “mockney” description:
This was very good – and as a Bermondsey boy myself, I can say this man was not a mockney.
All of these observations are quite accurate, despite the apparent contradictions. A good actor can successfully mimic any regional accent, given enough audio samples to work with. The fact that it was not his native dialect does not necessarily mark it as an inadequate simulacrum.
The same principle applies to the content of his monologue. In order for the drama to be at least superficially convincing, the screenwriters had to investigate and reproduce the real issues, as understood by the people who feel most strongly about them. That’s what makes the speech so inspiring for people like us, whose opinions already mirror those that the content-researchers so faithfully data-mined from internet archives, and then mimicked on the screen.
Make no mistake about it: this was an MSM production, and its target audience — politically correct middle- and upper middle-class British viewers — received it as intended, as a put-down of those benighted, atavistic, racist, nationalistic proles. The use of Enoch Powell as an iconic inspiration is proof of this fact — I remember quite clearly how Mr. Powell was reviled and ostracized for his “Rivers of Blood” speech. My cohort, the generation whose apparatchiks now control the levers of state, media, and social power, regard Enoch Powell as an emblem of racist fascism, a worthy heir to Sir Oswald Mosley.
But, as with so many MSM efforts, the real message gets through, despite the producers’ intentions. The writers, producers, actors, and target audience are deaf to the underlying significance behind what they portray, yet an ordinary Englishman experiences a thrill of recognition, and is heartened by it. The self-appointed guardians of multiculture may not realize it, but Enoch Powell is admired and respected by the EDL and other modern English nationalists. His presence in the TV program sends a totally different signal from what was intended.
Does this make this video clip “fake but accurate”? Perhaps.
On yesterday’s EDL demo post, Zeke had this to say:
I went looking for better pictures and found them here. What is interesting is that it’s obvious that the photo editors wanted the pictures of bearded muslims carrying signs saying “Islam will rule the Earth” and “Sharia” and burning English flags, hidden at the end of a 50 slide show, well behind the bald headed white guys shoving the police.
This is quite correct. The truth of what the EDL is doing is all but impossible to convey via the MSM. The media will hide the vile behavior of Muslims, and will choose its sound bites from the EDL (or its UAF infiltrators, who provide the best material) in such a way that the “racist” and “fascist” meme will come through loud and clear to the intended audience.
If the EDL’s message is to be successfully spread, it must do so despite what the media oligarchs intend. It can sneak in through vehicles such as the “I am an Englishman” clip, or be conveyed via entirely different means, such as internet forums and social networking sites.
During the discussion about the Grauniad article, Ray Boyd observed:
What’s needed is a Political wing of the EDL fronted by well spoken people who will be able to appeal to the middle classes.
In 1990 I was part of the English anti-poll tax movement and although the MSM only ever highlighted the left wing thugs rioting in the streets there was a significant number of centre/right/conservative middle class people on the peaceful side of the movement.
We need these people now to assist the EDL on the perceived as “moderate” front because the MSM will always portray those EDL people who are brave enough to go on the streets as troublemakers.
This gets to the heart of the matter. The issue of class runs through all the coverage of the EDL, albeit in a subliminal fashion.
Look at the photos at the top of this post — what do you see?
The average American probably sees a street demonstration with a lot of police, and an unfortunate demonstrator who got beaned and is bleeding from the wound.
But the average middle-class Englishman — assuming that he has not yet awoken to the dangers of Islamization, and is therefore not one of “us” — sees an unruly mob of yobbos, exemplified by the punk who climbed the light pole to yell his defiance of the police. Mr. Englishman also notices that it requires a huge number of police to control the “fascist” thugs. And he sees a bleeding “skinhead”.
Since skinheads are known racists and proto-fascists, the average viewer probably thinks, “That yobbo got what was coming to him.”
This is the media meme. We have no hope of changing it directly. The media oligarchs, led by the Islamophiles of the BBC, will always make sure that the same pre-programmed message comes through. The EDL supporters have been massively infiltrated by their “anti-fascist” opponents (and for all we know, some of them may be MI5 plants), which guarantees that the worst possible behavior will be available, ready to be captured on camera and tape, to be presented on the evening news. Sieg-heil salutes, shouts of racist epithets, throwing bottles and bangers — all of this is available to the MSM for its propaganda, and any material that reflects well on the EDL and shows the protesters as good, decent, honest people is suppressed.
Skinheads have a long history in English popular culture. They first came into prominence in the sixties, when I lived in England. They were working-class yobs who were known back then as “Paki-bashers” and “bovver boys”. They liked to “put the boot in” and engage in “a bit of aggro”. Their shaved heads and big boots became the symbols of lower-class violence and intolerance.
This imagery still resonates with a middle-class English audience, especially those of my generation. They see those shaved heads on the streets, and they think of violent yobbos. It doesn’t make a bit of difference that this characterization is inaccurate and unfair — this is what is bound to come into the heads of the good burghers who believe most of what the television tells them.
The EDL can continue indefinitely with its current modus operandi. It can mount demonstrations in city centers and gather thousands of people to participate. The police will continue to impede the EDL supporters at every step, arresting them, denying them permits, and allowing Muslims and UAF thugs to beat them up with impunity. The Home Office will back up the police, and put up every possible political roadblock to the EDL to make sure that it cannot get its message through effectively and thus expand its base.
At bottom, this is a class issue. The EDL is suffering, and it will stagnate, due to the lack of a substantial, visible middle-class component. It can keep doing the same thing month after month, year after year, until twenty years from now when the Muslims outnumber the English, and then the war will be over.
To change the meme, both the composition and the strategy of the EDL need to change. The “skinhead” stereotype has to be retired — and I say this as an admirer of the EDL; I recognize that the poor fellow in the photo is one of the heroes of our time, as are all those brave souls who venture out into the mean streets to risk their lives and livelihood for the cause.
And I also say this as an outsider, as one who sees what is happening, but is not part of it. It allows me some insight, and gives me the opportunity to make constructive suggestions, even though I can’t make any direct difference to what is happening.
So what could be done differently?
Yes, the protesters could grow their hair out, but that would only be a superficial difference. What is needed is a visible presence of the middle class at EDL events.
I recognize that this suggestion will rub a lot of EDL supporters the wrong way. They have, after all, been kept down and marginalized for decades by the very people I propose they mix with. An enormous amount of contempt and dislike flows in both directions between the classes.
And yet it’s obvious that something of this sort is absolutely necessary for the English nationalist movement to succeed. If the social classes cannot put aside their differences, then the oligarchs and their Muslim Freikorps will easily carry the day.
Try to imagine a different scenario for an EDL street demo.
Imagine a city center in Leicester or Durham or Gloucester. Watch a peaceful and orderly crowd assemble — just as the EDL does now — but instead of the jeans and T-shirts and hoodies, we see a crowd of men with neatly cropped hair wearing business suits. The women are wearing dresses, or even skirts and jackets.
Everybody carries the same signs as they do now, and repeats the same slogans, but look at the difference in appearance. How will the BBC be able to play the “yobbo” and “skinhead” themes on the news that evening?
And then imagine an interview with one of the participants. He doesn’t have to sound like Lord Pearson or someone else from the aristocracy, but his vowels can reveal his middle-class origins.
How would ITN handle that?
Once again, I realize that these suggestions will grate on the sensibilities of many EDL supporters. Class resentment in England is still deep and wide.
But what if this is a necessity?
What if success cannot be accomplished without something similar to it?
Take another look at the “I am an Englishman” video. When the actor tells the audience that “we were never asked”, who were “they” who never did the asking?
The social context of the clip — the accent, the Bermondsey background, the use of Enoch Powell — convey the clear message that this is a conflict between the classes. “They” were the upper and upper middle classes, and they foisted upon “us”, the lower classes, the immigration which has destroyed us.
But this is not true. The meme is false.
Much of the destruction of modern Britain was carried out by the post-war Labour Party, many of whose leaders were thoroughly working class. It was a bolshie operation, and immigration was an integral part of the plan, because it helped destroy the “bourgeois” culture which they so detested.
The Marxist strategy has always been to destroy those things that the English nation — or any nation — holds dear. Tradition, custom, culture, religion, history, a distinctive language and dialect — all of these had to be deconstructed in order that the New Socialist Man could be constructed and usher in the Utopia.
This is what we are contending against. This strategy has played out very successfully for more than fifty years. Islam and dhimmitude are just the latest weapons to be deployed against the arch-enemy of the Left, which is Western Civilization itself.
To successfully combat the forces arrayed against them, Englishmen who love their nation will have to change this “class war” meme. They will have to put aside their resentments and anger, and recover their ancient dependence upon one another.
If they don’t change the meme, they will lose.
And England will cease to be.